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Diet For Vomiting/Diarrhea (Child)

Vomiting and diarrhea are common problems in children. Continued vomiting or diarrhea causes the body to lose water. The water contains salt and minerals (known as electrolytes). Electrolytes are important for the body to function. Children can easily lose water and become dehydrated.

During vomiting and diarrhea, it is important to replace body fluids. Some children may tolerate regular food if the vomiting and diarrhea is infrequent. Other children may require a modified diet before returning to a regular diet. There is no need to follow a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). These foods are sometimes recommended to decrease diarrhea. But they do not contain enough nutrients for a child.

If your child shows signs of dehydration or has difficulty keeping fluids down, the doctor may recommend an oral rehydration solution (known as ORS). ORS replaces lost electrolytes. ORS may reduce vomiting and decrease diarrhea. Pedialyte, Rehydralyte, and Enfalyte are common brand names. They are available from grocery stores and pharmacies without a prescription. Use only prepared ORS. Do not try to make your own.

Treatment

  • If desired and tolerated, your child may continue to eat regular food.

  • If unable to eat regular food, encourage your child to suck on or drink a variety of clear liquids such as water, ice cubes, or broth. Avoid high-sugar fluids. Offer small, frequent feedings.

  • If clear liquids are tolerated, gradually increase the amount. Alternate these fluids with ORS, as recommended by your doctor.

  • Once the child is able to eat, reintroduce solid foods from the list below.

Recommended Foods

Carbohydrates: Rice, wheat, potatoes, bread

Meats: Lean meats such as turkey or chicken with skin removed

Fruits and vegetables: As tolerated

Yogurt: May help digestion

Avoid the following:  High-fat or spicy foods; they may be difficult to digest.

Follow Up

as advised by the doctor or our staff.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) oral, or 101.4°F (38.5°C) rectal or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Vomiting worsens

  • Diarrhea that contains mucus, pus, or blood (may be black or tarry in color), or has a bad odor

  • Abdominal pain

  • Signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, dark urine, reduced urine output, lack of tears when crying, or sunken eyes

  • Behavioral changes, such as lethargy, decreased activity, or decreased responsiveness

  • Can’t keep food or drinks down; no interest in eating or drinking

 

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